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Pupils Hooted Minister of Education for 3 Hours. The long-awaited nationwide meeting on the school-leaving exams was a failure, after thousand of pupils hooted Minister of Education Vladimir Atanassov. Three hours long teenagers and experts tried to outcry each other in the overbrimmed hall at the National Palace of Culture. Pupils raised slogans "No School-Leaving Exams!" and "MoE to Take Exams!" Photo Kiril Konstantinov


The Ninth American Tech Exhibition of High Technologies was opened at the National Palace of Culture [in Bulgaria]. The Exhibition presents Global High Tech information technologies, telecommunications and electronics and will continue through April 12. Pressphoto - BTA Photo: Anelia Nikolova



Chief of Staff of the Macedonian Army General Lieutenant Metodi Stamboliski briefed Tuesday Macedonian President and Supreme Commander of the Macedonian Armed Forces Boris Trajkovski on the current situation in the Army.
According to Trajkovski, the briefings would be held once a month. Today's briefing focused on the combat readiness and the problems in Army's functioning such as the cooperation between the Supreme Commander and the Army i.e. the Defense Ministry.
Special attention was paid on the Army's tasks set since the final briefing on January 16, and the draft on Army's setup was presented as "it gives hope for more efficient functioning of the security system and increased combat readiness of the Army's units." In that respect, financial report was presented on Army's restructuring that would be legally analyzed in cooperation with NATO.
They also discussed the necessity for passing Law on service in Macedonian Army, developed by Defense Ministry, which would resolve the status of the Army's members.
"We also discussed the housing issue of the Army's members and we agreed in cooperation with my cabinet and the Government to initiate the adoption of special Law for resolving this issue or to change the existing Law on housing," Trajkovski informed, adding that they also discussed the payment system of the Army's members.
According to him, they also reviewed the experience from last year's conflict in the country, "which should be implemented in the training programs."
Trajkovski requested information regarding the implementation of National Action Plan for NATO's membership before Alliance's Summit in Prague.
To a question whether he has requested dismissal of Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski and disbanding of special police unit "Lions," President Trajkovski emphasized that according to his constitutional authorizations he cannot appoint or dismiss ministers in the Government or to "establish, disband or transform any police units." He explained that he could give suggestions and opinions, which are not obligatory for the Prime Minister.
Speaking of the Law on amnesty, he emphasized that it was suggested by the Macedonian Government and by the Parliament. "I supported the initiative as necessary element for surpassing the situation in Macedonia," he explained.
According to him, "the consequences from the tragic developments in Macedonia are still actual and the last year's crisis is somehow still present."
"The stake in the crisis is big, the stake is Macedonia," Trajkovski said, adding that "the Macedonian sovereignty has not been fully established."
He stressed that the President and the Government should fight together against the organized crime and corruption in order to decrease the unemployment and poverty.
"The complexity of the situation, the intensity of the crisis and the involvement of the international community demands from us an exceptional maturity and moderateness on one hand and courage and decisiveness on the other," Trajkovski said, pointing out that the most important is the unity.
Trajkovski appealed for unity regarding the police redeployment in the crisis regions and establishing control on the entire territory, reviving the economy and integration in the European Union and NATO as well as "unity in resolving the critical issues, which concern the Macedonian citizens."
"At this moment we need unity among the top officials as well as among the Macedonian citizens," Trajkovski believes. According to him, "there might be difference in concepts on the relation President- Government, but the only goal of Macedonian officials is to do the best for the citizens."
Asked whether he feels political pressure by the Government, Trajkovski emphasized that "he feels no pressure in performing the tasks and the obligations."
"The instruments given to me pursuant to the Constitution allow me to perform my usual tasks and responsibilities without any restrictions," Trajkovski emphasized.
The Fifth official meeting of Economic Chambers' Presidents from former Yugoslavia's successor countries was held Tuesday in Skopje.
Representatives from all economic chambers of Yugoslavia's successor countries as well as from the Bulgarian Trade-Industrial Chamber participated at the meeting, which focused on the perspectives of trade exchange among these countries, what is a great potential.
According to President of Macedonian Economic Chamber Dusan Petreski, due to the objective reasons the economy potential faced crisis and is realized on minimal level at the moment. As a result of the crisis the cooperation between some countries has declined for 15-20 percent, and is completely halted between the others. Therefore, the work of the Economic Chambers should be focused on increased liberalization, but only through Free Trade Agreements.
"The negotiations on integration within the World Trade Organization will resolve the matters on unification of the standards for the foreign trade, financial and customs operations, traffic and investments," Petreski said. He expressed his assurance that the cooperation among the economic chambers should continue in the future.
President of Slovenian Economic Chamber Josko Cuk said that besides the increased cooperation among the chambers also the confidence has been enhanced and the psychosocial climate has been improved. "It is in the interest of all countries to preserve the chambers' organization. We do not want to be above the Government and the Parliament, but we want to state our position regarding the economic matters," Cuk said.
Vice president of Bulgarian Economic Chamber Gjorgji Cernev requested the Association of Balkan chambers to be expanded and to support the national bodies in charge with the issues referring to import and export.
The Presidents of the Economic Chambers concluded that the process for liberalization of the trade exchange is the main precondition for economic stability. It was also pointed out that the administrative and other obstacles should be removed for free flow of capital, goods and ideas as well as practical realization of the cooperation through stimulative measures.
To accelerate the harmonization process of the legislature and technical standards with those of the European Union, such as the unification and simplifying the customs procedure, transport and transboundary cooperation is the basic direction for the future activities of the chamber.
In order to provide efficient business information the presidents of the economic chambers welcomed the project "South European Chamber's Network - Joint Information System of the Chambers in the Region," which is in its final stage and refers to information connection of the mutually programmed activities for staff education and experience exchange for technical and technological development of the chambers.
Macedonian Parliament Speaker Stojan Andov interrupted the session Tuesday evening and scheduled another continuation of this session for Wednesday.
There are about sixty items on the agenda of this session, among which the draft - law on election of deputies and election list, which will be reviewed once the Law on election of deputies is passed.
Justice Minister Ixhet Memeti presented Tuesday a draft law on election of members of parliament at the 100th session of the Macedonian Parliament.
Local and experts from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems took part in preparation of this draft.
The new law is particularly focused on the composition of election bodies, election campaign, protection of voting right and voting procedure.
"Besides the proportional model, the law proposes alternative solution, i.e. Macedonia to be divided in six polling stations; each poll to give 20 deputies.
The model is simple and transparent, and will simplify the work of election commissions because the final calculation of votes will be carried out in one place, " Memeti said.
He pointed out several proposals for controlling of the election process.
"This law should grant better protection of the voting right and guarantee fair and democratic elections. It is aimed to provide for stable majority in the Parliament, which is crucial for the country's future development. It is also aimed to improve the quality of the deputies' work by professionalism in parliamentary service," Memeti said.
According to him, the law provides a solid base for the elections, including provisions that incorporate the international standards for fair and transparent elections, as well as for building of confidence in political processes.
"The main idea is to carry out the elections in an atmosphere of confidence," Memeti said.
The SDSM parliamentary group supported the proportional election model, but did not accept a ban for pre-election coalitions. The group considers that the election campaign should last for 30 days. In regard to election bodies, the group says that the Constitutional Court should elect the members of those bodies.
The PDP parliamentary group supports some parts of the proportional model.
The group also considers that the Constitutional Court should suggest the members of election bodies. PDP demands for the international monitors to take part in the election process and to be granted a right to sign the election reports.
The VMRO-DPMNE parliamentary group also supports the proportional model, expressing satisfaction that voter identity card would be eliminated, as it cannot protect the voter right. The protection of this right depends on participants in the election process. The group considers that it is not important who will designate the members of election bodies, but how these bodies are going to carry out the election process. The group is against pre-election coalitions, considering them harmful for real swards crossing. The State Election Commission should have a four-year mandate, the VMRO-DPMNE parliamentary group said.
At the Tuesday session, the Macedonian government adopted the draft-law for disarmament, with a recommendation to the Parliament to review it by urgent procedure.
As the governmental spokesman Gjorgji Trendafilov reported, its application would be carried out though public call, and those who want to surrender the weapons they have will be able to do that at the checkpoints that will be established by the Ministry of Interior. The deadline for collecting the weapons will be 45 days after the launching of the public call.
"The future sanctions for those who will refuse to surrender the weapons will be regulated according to the existing law for criminal procedure," Trendafilov said.
Regarding the dispute between the ministers of finance - Nikola Gruevski and defense - Vlado Popovski regarding the salaries for the military aviation personnel, Trendafilov said that they managed to surpass the differences.
The government also discussed about the blocked "Makpetrol" trucks loaded with crude oil at the Macedonian-Greek border, but as Trendafilov said this was not a matter of dispute between the Customs Administration and Makpetrol but the problem was in the certificates issued by third party.
Vice premier Zoran Krstevski and director of the Customs Administration Dragan Daravelski asked for swift resolving of this problem in order Macedonia's ratings not to be violated.
As Trendafilov said, the information submitted by the Ministry of Interior about the fate of the 12 kidnapped Macedonians in the Tetovo area was also reviewed by the government, which concluded that nothing relevant has changed in the meantime.
He stressed that the government would continue the dialogue with the Trade Union Federation of Macedonia for resolving of the problems with the status of the workers from the bankrupt companies.



International Fair of medical, dental and pharmaceutical equipment, instruments, disposable material and medicines - MEDICINE 2002 is held April 9 - 12 in Skopje.
Macedonian Health Minister Gjorgji Orovcanec opened the Fair.
"MEDICINE 2002 in its 23-year long tradition became highly specialized manifestation, which allows to the health workers and the interested citizens to learn the highest achievements in the field of medicine, dentistry and pharmacology," Minister Orovcanec said.
"The fair is an excellent opportunity for the doctors to find out the new concepts and international achievements in the field of medical diagnostics and contemporary healing, especially now when the health reforms are underway in order to provide more economic and high-quality health services for the Macedonian citizens," he said.
Around 370 participants from Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Netherlands, Great Britain, USA and Canada will take part at the fair manifestation.
The number of exhibitors has increased for 50 percent in comparison to 2001.
The exhibition program includes medical and bio-medical appliances, equipment for nuclear medicine and diagnostics, laboratory appliances and devices for scientific researches, equipment for operating rooms, instruments, chemicals and accessories for laboratories, products of the pharmaceutical industry, equipment, instruments and appliances for the dentistry, scientific and professional literature.
The new techniques, appliances, devices and disposable materials would be presented through the presentations and promotions.
In addition, many lectures from the area of pediatrics, dentistry will be held Tuesday, from gynecology and obstetrics on Wednesday as well as from respiratory medicine and allergology on Thursday.
Macedonian Anti Cancer Association (MACA) will hold Tuesday a consultation on topic "More information - less cancer."
In organization of the US Embassy and the US Chamber of Commerce to Macedonia, an exhibition of catalogues including the US companies that manufacture medical and dentistry equipment as well as pharmaceutical products would be held.
Eleanor Nagy, from the US Embassy to Macedonia, said that this exhibition was the first presentation of the US Companies on Skopje Fair in 2002 and announced their participation on the forthcoming Fairs: INFOCOM, AGROEXPO and TEHNOMA.
Traditional award MEDINOVA sculptures would be presented for products exhibited for the first time at the fair of medical equipment.

School Holidays Extended Because of Quakes.

Plovdiv citizens are taking leaves en mass and flee from the town.
Kostadin Arshinkov
Sophia Popova

The school holidays are to be extended by 3 days in 32 settlements in the Assenovgrad region because of the tremours, reads the special order by Mayor Svetozar Shoumanov issued yesterday. For now, three school buildings with cracked walls were reported. Many of the citizens of the affected residential districts in the town of Assenovgrad moved to tents in improvised camps in the nearby meadows and at the stadium. Despite the cracked walls of the school building in the village of Kroumovo, where the epicentre is, the pupils started their lessons yesterday. Only three of the rooms were damaged. The mayor of the village ordered kids to be given breakfast in the open and to have no access to the dangerous rooms. Plovdiv's Mayor Ivan Tchomakov said that there were no applications for postponing the lessons in the town, so the lessons were carried out normally. Many of the Plovdiv citizens are taking leaves and flee from the town together with their families. After each quake the number of heart attacks is sky-rocketing, Plovdiv-based Emergency Medical Center employees said. The quakes in recent 24 hours totaled 7. The severest tremour was felt at 7:38 yesterday morning, measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale.
Needy People Will Be Granted Aids.
Evgeni Genov

474 houses were reported damaged by the earthquakes in the Plovdiv region, Minister Nezhdet Mollov - chairman of the governmental emergency situation committee, said yesterday. Most of the damaged buildings are in the village of Kroumovo. Regional commissions of the Civil Protection State Agency are first inventorying the damages of the socially handicapped. Aids will be granted only to those, who really need them, Mollov is flat. Predominantly old buildings were affected being in want of maintenance. To Minister Mollov, the tremors didn't affect the new houses, that were built in compliance with the anti-seismic rules.
Earthquake Measuring 2.7 on Richter Scale Shakes.
Sofia, April 9 (BTA) - An earthquake epicentered some 130 km souththeast of Sofia was registered at 20:17 hrs local time on Tuesday, said Civil Defence.
It measured 2.7 on the Richter scale.
No injuries or materal damage are reported.
The tremour was felt in the region of the villages of Kroumovo, Yagodovo, as well as the city of the town Plovdiv.
Seismologists Expect No Strong Quakes on Bulgarian Territory Soon.
Sofia, April 9 (BTA) - Seismologists of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) said they do not expect new strong earthquakes epicentered in Bulgaria. People in the epicenter area near Plovdiv (Southern Bulgaria) will continue to feel tremors for seven or ten days more which will be followed by about a month of tremors felt only by earthquake measurement instruments.
For the time being things are calm and if there are new tremors they will be weakening aftershocks, seismologist Boyko Rangelov of the Geophysics Institute of the BAS said. Five tremors of an intensity between 3 and 3.8 on the Richter scale were registered in Bulgaria from April 5 through 8. Earth tremors were also registered in neighbouring Balkan countries.
"We cannot speak of a chain reaction after the quakes in the Plovdiv region. No activation has been registered of the other earthquake zones in Bulgaria, Rangelov added.
The most dangerous zones in Bulgaria are near Kresna and Kroupnik (Southwestern Bulgaria), Gorna Oryahovitsa (Northern Bulgaria), Plovdiv (Southern Bulgaria), Sofia and Shabla-Kaliakra (Northeastern Bulgaria), seismologists recall. The last destructive earthquake in Bulgaria was in 1928 in the Plovdiv region.
The earth tremors of the past few days damaged 474 houses in the Plovdiv region, according to the latest data of the Standing Commission for Management of Natural Disasters and Industrial Accidents with the Council of Ministers.

Libyan Lawyer Bizanti to Meet Six Bulgarian Medics Next Week.
Tripoli, April 9 (BTA) - Osman Bizanti, the Libyan defence lawyer of the Bulgarian medical workers sued in Tripoli, will meet them next week.
Bizanti met them twice after February 17, the date on which the People's Court of Libya announced there is insufficient evidence to substantiate a charge against the Bulgarians of conspiracy against the Libyan State and transferred the case to a civil court as it has jurisdiction only over state-related cases, BTA learned from Bizanti himself. He confirmed he will continue to act as defence lawyer for the Bulgarian medical workers who are charged with intentionally infecting 393 Libyan children with the AIDS virus.
There has been no new investigative proceedings and no new charges have been made, Bizanti said. If a new investigation is conducted in the future, the Bulgarians will be interrogated in connection with the charges already made - the infection of Libyan children with HIV and acts conflicting with the norms and tradition of Libya.
Five Bulgarian medical nurses and a Bulgarian doctor were detained in February 1999. A year later they were put on trial together with a Palestinian doctor and nine Libyan ones.
Bizanti has not information about the date of the court's sitting and he does not know whether the medics will be tried in Tripoli or Benghazi, the city in whose hospital the Libyan children were infected with HIV. He thinks, however, that most probably the trial will continue in Tripoli.
Russia To Backup BG for Bourgas - Alexandroupolis Pipeline.

Moscow insists Bulgaria to take an equal share with the other participants.
Pavlina Zhivkova

Russia supports Bulgaria's demands on equal share in the oil pipeline Bourgas - Alexandroupolis, it transpired from a letter, signed by V. Stanev - energy deputy-minister of the Russian Federation, which Vice-Premier Kostadin Paskalev received yesterday. Bulgaria, Russia and Greece have to take 33-percent shares in the oil pipeline, reads the letter. The trilateral meeting on sealing the final memo in Athens, fixed for April 14, is likely to be postponed once again, this time for early May. The reason is that none of the countries, participating in the project, is ready to be included in the trilateral consortium - 'Trans-Balkan Oil Pipeline'. Greece insists further on a 'fair', rather than 'equal' share participation. EU has already allotted 2.25 million euros to Greece on the project. A few days ago, IKB Deutsche Industribank AG and BNP Paribas have shown interest to finance the Bulgarian participation.
Sofia, April 9 (BTA) - The French Development Agency (AFD will provide five million euro in gratuitous aid for the construction of the second bridge over the Danube between Bulgaria and Romania at Vidin-Calafat.
Bulgarian Transport and Communications Minister Plamen Petrov and Georges d'Andlau, Deputy Director of a Directorate of the AFD, signed an agreement on the funding Tuesday. The document is subject to ratification by the National Assembly.
The funds are part of a general financial scheme for the construction the bridge.
Last year the AFD also granted 500,000 euro in gratuitous aid which were used for preliminary studies for the construction of the bridge.
The funds necessary for the construction of the bridge are estimated at 207 million euro. Late last year Bulgaria and the European Investment Bank signed a financial agreement for 50 million euro.
President Purvanov to Decree Ratification of Framework Agreement with EBRD on Kozloduy Old Units.
Kozloduy, on the Danube, April 9 (BTA) - President Georgi Purvanov will decree the "Official Gazette" promulgation of a Framework Agreement between Bulgaria and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) regarding the operation of the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (KIDSF), signed in London on June 15, 2001. The President made this statement during a tour of the N-Plant on Tuesday.
In the presence of Energy and Energy Resources Minister Milko Kovachev, the Chairman of the Committee for the Use of Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes (CUAEPP) Emil Vapirev, MPs and the management of the N-Plant, Purvanov explained his position on the fate of the Kozloduy Plant.
The President said he acknowledges the tremendous efforts to modernize the 440 MW reactors, their fundamentally new state and the prerequisites for further and ongoing operation. "At the same time, we cannot renounce agreements reached and commitments assumed by other governments," Purvanov said because, as he put it, Bulgaria will find itself in the same situation as when it declared a moratorium on its foreign debt payments in 1990.
"We cannot revise the agreement, we cannot afford to explode the dialogue with the EU, to go back to square one, to isolate ourselves," the head of state stressed. In his opinion, the way out is in the modernization of the generating units and in the negotiations with the European partners at the expert level and at the politicians' level. "If the International Atomic Energy Agency makes a positive assessment of the fundamentally new condition of Units 3 and 4, I will recommend that the Bulgarian Government familiarize the European governments with the results of their successful modernization, and that the CUAEPP license their prolonged operation."
The President called against the rushed utilization of the 100 million euros that have already been provided to help the reactors' decommissioning because "they would tie our hands in the further negotiations with the EU."
Regarding the demand for a referendum on the fate of the Kozloduy N-Plant, Purvanov stressed that such a referendum is unnecessary because there is a clear public consensus on the matter. "The referendum will not give us more clarity but will lead to useless debates on the subject," the President observed.
"The idea to complete the construction of the Belene N-Plant is no alternative to the problem of the Kozloduy nuclear reactors. It does not discharge us from our responsibility for their operation," the President said, stressing that both problems should be solved simultaneously in present and in future. Purvanov repeated the same arguments when he met with the Mayor and the Municipal Council of Kozloduy. "Bulgaria is and must remain an energy leader in the Balkans, must remain in the large family of nuclear power generating countries with all positive effects of this membership," President Purvanov said.
Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) President Zhelyazko Hristov said Tuesday that he had written to President Purvanov, urging him to veto the law ratifying the KIDSF agreement with the EBRD and to schedule a referendum on the future of the N-plant. According to CITUB, this will give more arguments in the negotiations with the EU on the fate of Units 3 and 4.
In connection with the meeting of the EU-Bulgaria Joint Consultative Economic and Social Committee, which is forthcoming next week, Bulgarian Industrial Association President Bozhidar Danev said that the social impacts of the Kozloduy closure will figure high on the agenda of the meeting. According to Danev, more than 6,000 companies connected to the plant will be adversely affected by the closure of Units 1 to 4.
'Belene' NPP - The Puzzle.

If BG yields to Europe, we are to loose power 25 billion kWh.
Belcho Tsanev

Two statements of Premier Saxe-Coburg-Gotha caused alarm. In end-January, during the visit of Greece's PM Costas Simitis to this country, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha committed the government with pre-scheduled decommissioning of reactors III and IV of 'Kozloduy' NPP in the framework of the term set by the EU - by end-2006. Simeon's statements caused a scandal. Three days ago, PM said, that 'Belene' nuclear power plant would be completed. If Bulgaria would give up to the EU pressure and close down reactors III and IV of 'Kozloduy' NPP till end-2006, it would actually mean that Bulgaria should do without 25 billion kWh in the period 2006-12. It means budget revenues less by $900 million. We should keep all that in mind, when calculating the investments necessary on finishing of the already built up reactor I of the 'Belene' NPP. We should only hope, that the statement of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha on furthering the construction of 'Belene' NPP is not bound by the close-down of the reactors III and IV of 'Kozloduy' and that the NMS-led government will stand for the First Neclear Plant.
'Crown Agents': Customs Should Be Mended.

Elka Vladova - reinstated in her former office of deputy- head of 'Customs' Agency, was fired once again, 'Standart' learnt. Marian Abrashev was reinstated in the office in her stead. In the recent years, the customs administration retreated from the positions already taken. It is valid both for the personnel selection and their professional progress and skills, reads the report by the customs consultants from 'Crown Agents', Dimitar Tolev, deputy-head of the Agency, said on 'Darik' radio. The customs should be mended and the process is already underway, the report reads further.
Bulgarians Live on 4 Levs Daily.

In 2010 we will catch up with 40 percent of the EU living standards, maintain BSP experts.
Krastina Marinova

The average per capita daily expenditures of the Bulgarians account for 4.07 levs, shows a survey made by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) on the spending of the population in the first trimester of 2002. Emilia Maslarova - deputy-leader of the Coalition 'For Bulgaria' PG, voiced the data in Dobrich yesterday. She refuted the data of the World Bank (WB), according to which the daily per capita expenditures of the Bulgarians amount to 5 levs. The living standards in this country are beneath the European poverty level which is minimum $2 daily, Maslarova said. To her, Bulgaria will hardly reach 40 percent of the last year's EU living standards as early as in 2010. The left-wing opposition will draft a Social Services Bill - such an act has never been enforced in Bulgaria, Maslarova said further.
BG Marine Paid for Varna-Based Shipyard.

Businessmen from Hamburg made the first order to the company.
Irena Tsekova

Just before the payment deadline was to expire, the buyer 'Bulgarian Marine' (BM) shipping company paid 35.5 million levs, Ivan Boiadjiev - head of the shipyard, said. The chairmen of BM shipping company held negotiations with the Central Cooperative Bank (CCB), Expressbank, DSK (State Savings Bank), Bulbank and Rosseximbank, to provide the money. They asked for an appointment with Finance Minister Milen Velchev to insist on a state guarantee to be granted a credit from a foreign bank. Ultimately, it was the Raiffeisenbank that gave the money. The first order was already made to the shipyard. Captain Geno Genov - director of the BM shipping company, met businessmen from Hamburg, who had preliminary agreement on building ships.
So, the venture may start working in a month.
Interdepartmental Working Group to Determine Validity of Russian Claim for Ownership of Bulgartabac Property.
Sofia, April 9 (BTA) - The Russian government has claimed in a note the ownership of some of Bulgartabac Holding Group's estates, Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Nikolai Vassilev said Tuesday.
The disputed estates used to belong to Germany's Reemsma during WWII.
An interdepartmental group has been set up to study the respective documents and to see if the claim is grounded, said Vassilev. A bilateral expert meeting on the matter is to be held next week.
Vassilev said that the claim will not affect the company's sale or its assets. He would not discuss the possible ways in which the problem could be settled until the validity of the Russian claim is determined.
A procedure for the privatization of Bulgartabac Holding Group was launched on March 25.
In Vassilev's words, the Russian claim has no bearing on the payment of the Russia debt to Bulgaria.
Cops Shopping Presents for Gen. Vassilev's Birthday.
Antoineta Peteva
Evgeni Genov

Cops are hunting through the shops and feverishly selecting presents for the 52 anniversary of the head of the National Police Service (NPS) Gen. Vassilev, "Standart" was told. The birthday of No 1 Police Officer is today but the general is not in Sofia. He is to celebrate his anniversary together with his family and friends.
Radanova Won 4 Medals at the World Short-Track Championship.
Evgenia Radanova ranked third in the total competition during the World short-track championship in Montreal, Canada. She collected 55 points, behind the Chinese Yang Yang A (105 pts.). Apart of the silver at 500-m distance, she gained two more medals in the individual competitions in the last day. Radanova finished third with 1:35.185 min. at 1,000-m. Yang Yang A was again on the top with 1:34.732 min. At the 3,000-m final the Bulgarian took the second place with 5:22.718 min. In Montreal Radanova proceeded her successful presentation in 2002. She became European champion in Grenoble and won two Olympic medals in Salt Lake City- silver at 500-m and bronze at 1,000-m.
Parliament Adopts Unanimously Declaration Condemning All Forms of Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-Semitism.
Sofia, April 9 (BTA) - Parliament voted unanimously Tuesday a Declaration condemning all manifestations of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism as a threat to the mainstays of the democratic civil society and as contradicting human moral and Euro-Atlantic values. The declaration was adopted at an official sitting at which the MPs marked Holocaust Remembrance Day.
"We mark this day to remember that genocide against peoples and ethnic groups should never happen again," the Declaration says.
The Declaration points out that Bulgarians should be proud that they protected their Jews during World War Two. This was an expression of traditional Bulgarian tolerance for ethnic and religious minorities, the Declaration says.
National Assembly Chairman Ognyan Gerdjikov said that Holocaust Remembrance Day is an appeal to mankind not to allow such madness again and to wage a resolute struggle against all forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia.
Gerdjikov pointed out that Bulgaria cherishes the memory of the Jews who died and that Bulgaria and Denmark were the only European countries to save their Jews.
Lawyers, writers, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, politicians of different parties declared themselves against the preparations of the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews. The then head of state King Boris III also played a decisive role, Gerdjikov said. The Bulgarian Jews were saved thanks to the Bulgarian people who, true to their traditions of tolerance, did not allow the sending of their Jewish compatriots to the Nazi death camps.
Gerdjikov said this glorious chapter in Bulgarian history is receiving growing international recognition. By way of illustration he pointed to the bust of Dimiter Peshev, deputy chairman of the 21st National Assembly, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Together with 42 MPs Peshev organized the campaign against the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews.
"We should be proud that Bulgaria's centuries-old traditions of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding among different religions and ethnic groups that led to the saving of its Jews are now finding expression in the building of the new ethnic model," Gerdjikov said. This valuable achievement of democratic Bulgaria preserved us as an isle of peace and stability in the troubled Balkans, Gerdjikov said.
Despite the lessons of the Holocaust, mankind has still not freed itself of manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, Gerdjikov said, adding that the developments in the Middle East give rise to great concern in this respect. Gerdjikov pointed out that the escalating terror and the violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot solve the problems between them, as these problems have no military solutions but should be solved by means of dialogue and political, economic and social measures.

We Are Concerned over Corruption in Bulgaria.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Hulsman


Nevena Karaassenova

- Mr Hulsman, would you pleas elaborate on the report you are to submit to the US Senate?

- The USA are re-considering their entire attitude towards NATO. The key issue now is which of the countries would show the strongest will to back the USA. From now on everything is up to Bulgaria and Romania.

- Which are the major accents to outweigh for Bulgaria's accession to NATO?

- As for NATO, all your political parties have reached a consensus, which is very well. We think that everything is all right with the military reforms and political issues. The economic figures are good. The major problem, however, is corruption. It is not a secret and is very alarming.

(Questions of other media have also been used)


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